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Hundreds Survey Riverside County Homeless Population, Connect to Services

DATE:           Feb. 23, 2022

CONTACT:   Gene Kennedy, Senior Public Information Specialist
951-203-0343, gkennedy@rivco.org

Angela Naso, Public Information Specialist
951-660-1925, anaso@rivco.org

 

Hundreds Survey Riverside County Homeless Population, Connect to Services
Volunteers hit the streets Feb. 23 for annual count of those experiencing homelessness

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.—Charlie Perkins was out before dawn Wednesday to participate in the annual Point-In-Time Count of unsheltered individuals who were just emerging from sleep at the Santa Ana River bottom in Riverside.

Perkins, a homeless outreach worker in Riverside, was one of nearly 800 volunteers who fanned out over Riverside County’s 7,300 square mile landscape to identify individuals experiencing homelessness on the morning of Feb. 23.

A three-day count of homeless youth also began Wednesday and will continue through Friday, with volunteers searching in libraries, shopping malls, transit centers and other high-traffic areas for teens and young adults.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires local governments to conduct annual counts of their homeless populations. Federal officials use the information to determine funding levels, assess regional needs, and monitor local progress in reducing homelessness.

“The count helps us assess the impacts of the pandemic on our at-risk populations including seniors, youth and working-class families,” said Heidi Marshall, director of the county’s Department of Housing and Workforce Solutions.

Marshall said this year’s count will emphasize linking services and resources to those who request them. Outreach teams will follow up with individuals in the coming weeks ahead.

“It may be the tenth or twentieth time our outreach teams are trying to help them, but eventually if you can connect them with a case manager, it can help them find a sustainable future, rather than ending back in the same situation,” said Perkins.

The annual count is overseen by the Riverside County Continuum of Care, which comprises more than 200 representatives from civic, nonprofit and government organizations that actively coordinate planning efforts and solutions to end homelessness.

“Obtaining an accurate count of people experiencing homelessness is critical to direct resources to help our underserved communities with needed services,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Jeff Hewitt, Fifth District Supervisor.  “We appreciate the collaborative spirit of this effort. Together, we can make a difference.”

The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the ability for volunteers to participate in the 2021 count.  The 2020 count reported that 2,884 individuals experienced homelessness countywide.

“We appreciate all the volunteers who got up on a winter morning to help us with the Count, and we are humbled by the response of those we encounter on the streets,” said Sayori Baldwin, assistant county executive of Human Services and director of Riverside County’s Department of Public Social Services. “We want people to know we are here to serve them.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness in Riverside County, call 1-800-498-8847 or email homeconnect@ruhealth.org.

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